Poor Mike Pence. Greeted with a friendly gaggle of actors who both recognize him and are willing to express well-meaning concern over the havoc he may wreak as vice president. Pity too Donald Trump, who now feels blindsided by the realization that the theater isn't somewhere he and his cohort can retreat from the consequences of their actions.
Trump's reaction is what ultimately makes the action of the Hamilton cast a Good Thing. The man spent fifteen months using his own bully pulpit in a far less kindly way. Read More
Dario Fo, who died this past week, was a great playwright of the years of unrest and rebellion in the 1960s and ’70s. His plays such as Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! were hilariously cutting critiques of life under capitalism as it went into crisis. His style of theatre was like a Brecht play performed by the Marx Brothers in the age of TV. They even became long running hits in London’s West End.
Brian Mulligan, a teacher, writer and performer who was part of the “alternative comedy” scene of the 1980-90s, said... Read More
We have reached the Hegelian endgame; the fusion of art and philosophy. Not quite, as Arthur Danto notes, a negation of art by philosophy but the fusion of both. The art object has become, it is claimed, a philosophical argument in itself. But it is a pyrrhic victory – a Twilight Zone ending for art history, modernism and the avant-garde.
Anything can be made into art. But there is a small army of theorists dedicated to parsing out what is and isn’t art. Anyone can be an artist – if they aren’t too attached to the idea of eating dinner. Art and philosophy have fused but in the absence of the social revolution that was meant to accompany that fusion. The result is a philosophical-art object that is profoundly weak. If the present model of serious contemporary art is a weak avant-garde, the solution is a popular avant-garde: a rapprochement between artistic experimentation (as art) and mass emancipatory politics. Read More
In October, 2015 Red Wedge's Adam Turl gave a lecture, "For Art as Epic Theater" at the Brett Wesley Gallery in Las Vegas, Nevada and Project 1612 in Peoria, Illinois. These artist talks coincided with the "13 Baristas" exhibit in Las Vegas and the "Kick the Cat" show in Peoria. The audio above is from the Las Vegas presentation and includes the discussion that followed. The lecture ends around the 45 minute mark. Turl makes the case for seeing the art space as a theatrical space. In addition he advocates for the alternating of distancing and non-distancing artistic tropes. Finally, Turl argues for Epic narratives in art. This includes the ancient mythological nature of the Epic as well as the inclusion of a multiplicity of proletarian narratives (neither idealized nor detached from social and economic relationships). Turl would like to thank both galleries, and the generosity of the Brett Wesley Gallery in particular, for their help in facilitating both the exhibitions and artist presentations. Read More
Red Wedge was founded in the wake of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. Despite any number of heroic struggles, most notably (in the U.S.) Black Lives Matter (BLM), things are far grimmer today. The weakness of the workers’ movement the radical left is mirrored in the weakness of the artistic and cultural avant-garde. This two-sided problem, of course, has a major impact on Red Wedge, rooted in our belief both in the independence of art and the possibility of a revolutionary socialist project.
A defeated and marginalized left bears little fruit. A false dichotomy between theory and activism pervades the left. There are the academics who look down on concrete activism. Then there are the oddly anti-intellectual activists who have internalized diminished horizons. The latter are those who might say the “workers don’t want to read/think/look” at that...
One could be easily forgiven for believing that theater is indeed “dead.” Every medium of culture and creativity struggles with issues of relevance and vitality, but the common conception of theater in particular seems to be one that has been most flagrantly geared merely toward parting tourists with their money. Of course, it’s not entirely true; the reality is far more complex. But the fact remains that there appears to be a gap between what we learn the live performing arts once were (or could be) and their present anodyne state. How is a play supposed to be relevant to working people? How can it be when it costs an arm and a leg just to go to one? Read More